it is true that there are important lessons to be learned from ancestral wisdom. Consequently, in defending their rights and in proclaiming respect for life, indigenous peoples make an important contribution for the rest of us.

The ecological perspective can draw strength from the corrections that the Bible itself makes to an abusive interpretation of the phrase 'dominate the earth* which we find in the book of Genesis, For instance> those ideas found in the book of Job, whose author seeks to convince us that it is not the human being, rather the gratuitous love of God, which is the heart and meaning of all creation. This emphasis can be used to provide oxygen in the struggle for justice, and to widen our horizons. It reminds us as well of the aesthetic dimensions of a process of liberation which seeks to take into account all aspects of what it is to be human; the right to beauty is an expression {more pressing than some suppose) of the right to life,

At the crossroads of two languages

From the perspective of theological reflection, within the framework of liberation, the challenge in Latin America is to find a language about God which arises out of the situation created by the injustice and poverty in which the great majority live, whether they be disparaged races, exploited classes, excluded cultures or women who suffer discrimination. At the same time, it has to be a discourse nourished by the hopes of a people who seek liberation. In that context of suffering and joy, uncertainty and conviction, generous commitment and ambiguity, our understanding of the faith should continually shine through.

Indeed, we believe that a prophctic and mystical language about God is being born in these lands of exploitation and hope. It is a question of talking of God - just as in the book of Job - from the suffering of the innocent. The language of contemplation recognises that all stems from the gratuitous love of the Father. The language of prophecy denounces the situation (and its structural causes) of injustice and exploitation, as lived by the poor of Latin America, In this rcspcct, Puebla speaks of knowing how to discover 'the suffering features of Christ the Lord in the faces1 furrowed by the pain of an oppressed people (nn. 31-9; a text taken up and developed at Santo Domingo),

Without prophecy, the language of contemplation risks not involving itself in the history in which God acts and where we find him. Without the mystical dimension, the language of prophecy can narrow the vision, and weaken the understanding, of Him who makes all things new. *Sing to Yahweh, praise Yahweh, for he has liberated the poor from the hands of evil men' (Jer. 2.0,13). Sing and liberate, the act of thanksgiving and the demand for justice.

Between thanksgiving and demand runs Christian existence. In the beginning, and enveloping all is the free and gratuitous love of God. But this gift requires behaviour which translates into acts of love towards our neighbour, and especially the weakest among them. This is the challenge of Christian life, which seeks (beyond all possible spiritual evasion and political reduc-tionism) to be faithful to the God of Jesus Christ,

These two languages try to communicate the gift of the Kingdom of God revealed in the life, death and rcsurrcction of Jesus. This is the heart of the message that we go on rediscovering from our own reality. It is this that brings us together as a community, as a Church, within which we try to think through our faith. Theology is done in a Church which must provide in human history the testimony to a life victorious over death. To be a witness to the resurrection means choosing life, life in all its forms, since nothing escapes the universality of the Kingdom of God. This testimony of life (material and spiritual life, personal and social life, life present and future} assumes particular importance in a continent characterised by premature and unjust death, and also by the struggle for freedom from oppression. This reality of death and sin is a negation of the resurrection. For this reason, the witness of the resurrection is he who can always ask ironically (according to Scripture) 'Death, where is your victory?'.

This life we celebrate in the Eucharist, the first duty of the ecclesial community. In sharing bread, we remember the love and trust of Jesus who was taken to His death, and the confirmation of His mission towards the poor through the resurrection. The breaking of bread is both the point of departure and the destination of the Christian community. This act represents the profound communion with human suffering caused in many cases by the lack of bread, and it is the recognition, in joy, of the Resurrected Jesus who gives life and lifts the hopes of the people brought together by his acts and his word.

The theology of liberation tries - in ecclesial communion - to be a language about God. It is an attempt to make present in this world of oppression, injustice and death, the Word of life.

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